Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research Training Program (MHIRT)

Program Description

The NIMHD Minority Health International Research Training Program (MHIRT) funds U.S. institutions to offer short-term research training opportunities in international settings to undergraduate and graduate students from health disparity backgrounds.

Institutions with MHIRT funding provide training and international exposure to students to conduct research at foreign sites in the biomedical, clinical, social, or behavioral sciences. Although the timing of the 10- to 12-week training period varies by institution, it generally takes place during the summer or for one semester during the academic year.

MHIRT began in 1993 when NIMHD was the Office of Research on Minority Health. A MHIRT grant currently provides the awarded academic institution up to $250,000 in annual funding for a maximum period of 5 years. Programs typically enroll 8 to 12 students each year. At least 75 percent of an institution’s MHIRT trainees must be undergraduate students.

NIMHD does not work directly with students interested in the MHIRT program. Students who are interested in MHIRT must apply through the MHIRT program at a specific college or university.


  • Encourage undergraduate, graduate, and/or health professions students from backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical, behavioral, clinical, and social sciences to pursue careers in biomedical and/or behavioral health research fields
  • Provide training in collaborative research conducted in foreign settings to undergraduate, graduate, and/or health professions students
  • Broaden the research interests and scientific training of undergraduate, graduate, and/or health professions students from minority backgrounds to encompass international health issues
  • Expose students from minority backgrounds to research initiatives that address health disparities globally


Colleges and Universities

Institutions of higher education are eligible to apply for NIMHD funding to establish an MHIRT program.


  • A student must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident associated with an accredited college or university and who has not yet received a terminal degree.
  • A student must be a member of a health disparity population underrepresented in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical, or social sciences. This includes racial and ethnic minorities (African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders), individuals from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds, and individuals from rural areas.

Student selection criteria vary by institution. For guidance on a specific program, contact the college or university that hosts the program.